When asked to describe the traditional English countryside, people inevitably find themselves talking about the rolling hills, meandering rivers and manor estates of Wiltshire. At the centre of this country paradise stands the cathedral city of Salisbury – Wiltshire’s “urban” heart.
As the county’s only city, Salisbury is home to some of the world’s, and England’s, most important landmarks. From the Salisbury Plain and its patchwork of Neolithic gems including the famous Stonehenge, to the majestic Salisbury Cathedral – one of the keepers of the Magna Carta – the city is ripe with tradition, history and splendour.
Beyond just history, Salisbury offers so much to travellers enjoying a lovely extended holiday in a Wiltshire cottage. It offers shopping, fine dining, and great country pubs. Beyond that, it also provides unique opportunities to enjoy time with the kids and friends, as well as some of the finest tea rooms in the county.
“Having grown up in Salisbury, I’m always proud to show off my home city to my friends from further afield,” said Emma Kirkup from VisitWiltshire. “One of the things I love most is that it’s a small city and that the countryside is within easy reach. There are some lovely walks in the local area, including the Town Path, with views over the water meadows to the Cathedral and also the riverside walk up to Old Sarum, the original site of Salisbury.”
Old Sarum Castle, the enormous Iron Age hill fort of Old Salisbury, now offers ancient ruins to explore. The city also has Old Wardour Castle, the site of a famous Civil War battle when Parliamentarian forces took control of this fortress. There is also a fair bit of Roman history in Salisbury with the Rockbourne Roman Villa - the largest and most ancient villa in the area. There is also Stourhead House and Gardens, featuring some of the most spectacular landscaped gardens in the West Country.
And, of course, Salisbury Cathedral is still regarded as one of the finest medieval cathedrals in the United Kingdom and was built around 800 years ago.
“If you don’t mind heights, then be sure to book onto a Salisbury Cathedral Tower Tour – you get some spectacular views of the city from there,” Kirkup added.
Find out more details about what to see and do in Salisbury at www.visitsalisbury.co.uk
If you’re looking for something new to do with the children in Salisbury, the Treasure Trail is available in the city. These imaginative and fun ways for kids to explore are self-guided themed walking treasure hunts, and are ideal for discovering more about your holiday in Wiltshire. They are just £6.99 each, and offer a great value.
The unique Treasure Trails are dedicated to Salisbury and available online at www.treasuretrails.co.uk. In fact, there are over 1,100 different Treasure Trails available, covering towns, cities and rural areas across the UK. You can choose between three themes: a Treasure Hunt, a Spy Mission or a Murder Mystery. One trail booklet is enough for a family of 4-5 to enjoy.
“Treasure Trails are a great way to encourage children to get out in the fresh air, explore a new area and most importantly…have great fun doing so,” say the makers of the activity.
Another unique experience to enjoy in the city are the Salisbury Escape Rooms. These interactive role play experiences are perfect for hen parties, family get-togethers, or inquisitive partners. Right now, you can help solve the “Murder at the Museum”. In this adventure, a detective meets you at the door and escorts you into the “Salisbury Smithsonian Museum”. Those in the Escape Room are challenged by a number of clues and puzzles. The adventure continues as the mysteries are slowly solved, bringing you to the end of the journey.
Tea Rooms We all love a good cuppa, and tea has never been better than when served in one of Salisbury’s lovely tea rooms.
In a renovated warehouse just off the city centre, The Yard is your perfect afternoon escape. In the shop, there are a wide range of gifts and homewares. Brought in from all over the world, there is no doubt you will find a small gift to remember your time in Salisbury.
And, of course, the tea rooms offer hot and cold beverages, as well as freshly baked cakes and light bites from the kitchen. The Yard also has two separate gallery spaces, one that features local artists and well-known national works. For the warmer, sunnier days, there is an outdoor seating area.
Bernieres is another delightful tea room in Salisbury. It is located next to the Military Museum on Cathedral Close. For more than 10 years, they have provided fresh home-made cooking as part of a varied and unique menu.
Main Image Credit: Richard Penn (flickr.com)